A few years ago Opera disappointed a lot of people when the company announced that they’re dropping their free VPN app. However, one year later, Opera bought SurfEasy, a Canadian based VPN provider, and then shocked the world by announcing that they’ll incorporate a free VPN feature into their browser (the desktop version).
Opera’s built-in VPN means that you are not forced to install third-party software to privately and securely surf the web
Having a web browser featuring a built-in free and unlimited VPN was unheard of in 2016, and it still is today. Opera’s built-in VPN means that you are not forced to install third-party software to privately and securely surf the web. Moreover, browser add-ons require a little bit of skill and knowledge, and not all people are tech-savvy enough.
However, the best thing about Opera browser’s built-in VPN is that it makes for a completely free of charge service that does a remarkable job in terms of download-speed and unlocking geo-restricted content.
In 2019, more than half of the population is using their smartphones to surf the web. And here comes the good news for our readers: Opera VPN for Android is now available for download on Google Play Store.
What is Opera VPN for Android
After becoming the world’s first desktop web browser to offer a built-in free VPN to its users, Opera announced that starting version 51, their Android browser app will also have this feature. Just like in the desktop version, Opera VPN for Android is unlimited traffic-wise and completely free of charge.
Speaking of Opera launching its free VPN for Android users in March 2019, it’s worth mentioning that Android is the most popular mobile OS in the world, boasting 85 percent market share (approximately 64 percent market share in the US), and over 2 billion monthly active users. So, it makes perfect sense for Opera to try to lure more people into using their Android browser before launching the iOS version.
Opera VPN for Android app – a brief history
Back in 2018, Opera took the world by storm as they announced they’ve decided to end their Opera VPN app for both Android and iOS. At the time, there were two versions available: a free one and the Opera VPN Gold, which retailed for $29.99 per year. Both were axed without mercy.
But now, Opera is back in business, as the version 51 of Opera web browser for Android comes with their now-famous free VPN feature built in. Basically, Opera is making a huge comeback in the Android world, offering billions of users a very fast (comes with ad-blocker included), secure and eye candy product, featuring a VPN service built into the browser. It doesn’t get any better than that. Chrome, start taking notes!
According to the company’s official website, the new Opera VPN for Android offers an unlimited, free to use, and log-free experience. Considering that the VPN feature is embedded into the browser itself, you now have complete control over your privacy, as there’s no need to download and install a third-party app, or to pay for a dedicated VPN service.
Despite being a beta-release for now, the free VPN feature in Opera’s Android browser is going to be rolled out to all users eventually, on a gradual basis. Just like the desktop version, the VPN can be set to locations in Europe, Americas, and Asia. The default setting is “optimal,” which means you’ll get hooked up with the fastest possible connection available.
After closing their dedicated VPN app last year, Opera is now focusing on improving the mobile user experience by baking VPN technology directly into the browser, thus trying to lure more people into using Opera products.
The VPN feature will make it harder for your Internet Service Provider to track your internet habits.
How Opera VPN for Android works
Opera VPN for Android works just like any other VPN provider, by replacing your actual IP with a fake one. Moreover, all the traffic from within the browser is encrypted then redirected through the virtual IP, so your internet activity will remain anonymous. Opera has said in a blog post that:
This exciting new feature in Opera for Android is designed to empower you with increased control and privacy of your browsing. You no longer need to download separate, paid-for apps to shield your browsing when on public wifi. Just tap on “Settings” in your Opera browser and activate VPN.
What’s the difference?
Just like the desktop version, the new Opera browser for Android offers basically the same ad-free and unlimited VPN functionality. However, it’s still in beta mode. Hence there are some caveats. For instance, you’ll have to download and use the full Opera browser, not the Opera Mini or Touch, on your Android smartphone. Once you’ve installed it, tap the O icon located on the bottom right corner, and then choose Settings. Next, you’ll have to flip the VPN toggle to enable the service.
You’ll notice a couple of options inside the VPN tab, which allow you to choose your desired virtual location, to limit the VPN to private tabs only or to bypass the VPN for search engines. And the best thing is that you’re not even required to sign into your Opera account to use all the features available in this “early release” Opera VPN for Android app.
When enabled, the mobile VPN works just as well as the desktop version, making for a completely free of charge, incredibly easy to use browsing experience. But its beauty is definitely its simplicity.
Opera VPN for Android is excellent for what it is, but there’s no ignoring the fact that this is not a great solution in terms of security or privacy. Contrary to the best VPNs for Android, it’s very low on security features, logs plenty of user data, and is based in a Fourteen Eyes country. What’s more, the company itself was bought in 2017 by Golden Brick Capital, a Chinese consortium. So, by all means, use it, but not for hacking into the Pentagon.